Aidan Nadell ’25
Ursinus Magazine: Thanks to the encouragement of Ursinus President Robyn Hannigan, Aidan honed his craft as a college mascot at Keystone Mascots Camp last summer, where he learned choreography, skits, and technical skills.
Aidan Nadell: It culminated in a mascot birthday party at a minor league baseball game. I had never stood on a dugout before! The biggest takeaway, though, was that it is important to take [being a mascot] seriously. You have to treat it as a serious job because you’re taking care of the costume and the persona. I’m representing the college when I’m in the suit, so if I take it seriously, then others will, too.
UM: He first put on the Bear suit at homecoming as a first-year student and he has embraced the role ever since.
Aidan: I’m really grateful to Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow (STAT) because being involved in that organization gave me a chance to become the mascot. I’m a pretty high-energy person. I have a fair amount of experience working with kids. And I love just making people smile and making them happy. It’s my favorite job that I’ve ever had.
UM: Aidan is a huge Philadelphia 76ers fan, so it should come as no surprise who he lists as his favorite mascot.
Aidan: I’m in awe of Franklin the Dog. He enters games rappelling from the ceiling. I can only imagine that. I don’t have the skills to make behind-the-back half-court shots, but I’m working on it!
UM: “Stay Smiling” isn’t just a mantra, it’s Aidan’s way of giving back to the community. He is the founder of Spread Smiles Movement, which raises money for children’s charities.
Aidan: It started during the COVID pandemic because there was rampant negativity in the air. I was working at a preschool that was in the process of building a new playground when the school closed for COVID. I wanted to help fundraise for the playground, so I made bracelets, shirts, and other “smiling” products. All of the proceeds went to the playground, and then I began supporting other organizations as well. I wanted to help make a difference.
UM: Aidan is co-president of Hillel, philanthropy chair for his Greek organization (Phi Kappa Sigma), a gold ambassador (tour guide), and a first-year student advisor.
Aidan: I want to take my Ursinus experience and use it to better the world. I’ll always remember when I first toured campus. People were kind to me. I’ve had some tough times here, but throughout my experience, my professors have had my back. If I was at another place, I might have dropped out. Ursinus has allowed me to be a more independent, confident version of myself.
UM: He’s writing a book to help high school students navigate their college experience.
Aidan: It’s called, Dear Anxious Student: How to Survive the College Transition. College is only four years. What’s going to happen afterward? I was putting so much pressure on myself to have everything figured out before I graduate. But you can’t overwhelm yourself with the burden of knowing exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life. I have about 65 pages written—it’s a work in progress. I hope to find some meaning in helping other students.
UM: His self-initiated major is “Behavioral Economics,” which combines business and psychology, but he’s not limiting his own career aspirations.
Aidan: My long-term goal would be president of Ursinus College. Why not shoot for the moon? Worst comes to worst, I’ll end up among the stars.